More U.S. Cases Of Zika Virus Have Been Confirmed

Photo: Andre Penner/ AP Photo.
Update: The WHO will hold an emergency conference next Monday to determine if the Zika virus should be classified as an international health emergency.

Concern is spreading about the Zika virus, with the arrival of a handful of new diagnoses among Americans. Zika is not a new disease, but a current outbreak in Brazil has been linked to birth defects, and it's created increased awareness and worry.

Recent cases have been confirmed in New York state, as well as Arkansas, Virginia, and California. In that last case, a young girl was infected with the Zika virus after traveling from Los Angeles to El Salvador this past November, according to a new report from ABC-7 in Los Angeles. She has since recovered.

Though Americans have contracted the virus, it has yet to be transmitted in the United States.

Mosquitoes capable of carrying the virus can be found in parts of the U.S., but the LADPH stated that it will take more than their presence to cause an outbreak stateside. "At this time, local transmission is unlikely," reads a statement from health officials reported by ABC-7 in Los Angeles. "It would require an Aedes mosquito biting a Zika infected person and then biting others."

As of right now, no vaccine exists to prevent the Zika virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging travelers to avoid certain countries known to be current Zika hotspots, many of which are in South and Central America. Pregnant women should be particularly cautious, as the virus has been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect that can affect brain development.
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